Monday, 31 March 2008

Did you know that the Irish go drinking BEFORE a wedding?

It was news to me I can tell you!! I happened upon this piece of information when Steph and I stopped by Grace in Tribeca for pre-wedding drinks last Thursday night and one of the guests, Martha, asked “would you be joining us at Puck Fair tomorrow?”

Me: Don’t you mean Ulysses? [Ulysses is a bar downtown where Ash said the post reception drinking would continue from 1-4am for those with the stamina and is owned by the same people who own Puck Fair].

Martha: No, no, Puck Fair.

Me (calling Ash over): Ash, what’s this about Puck Fair, I thought we were going to Ulysses?

Ash: Ulysses is after the reception ends at 1am, Puck Fair is before the wedding for those who want to.

Me: BEFORE the wedding?

Ash: Yup, it’s an Irish thing. You know how it is in small Irish towns, there’s often only a church and a pub, there’s nothing to do but drink, so everyone goes to the pub.

When in Rome eh? Puck Fair at 4pm it was.

Actually in the cold light of Friday morning Steph and I decided against it since we didn’t get home from Grace until close to 3am and woke around 10am so we decided we preferred to get ready for Ash and E’s 5pm wedding downtown at
St Patrick’s Old Cathedral at a leisurely pace. We had a very nice day, waking up around 10am and lounged around chatting for a bit before heading down to Pain Quotidien on 77th and 2nd for a hearty breakfast. We’d planned to go all out with eggs and what not at Annie’s but when we got there I found out it had closed down. I couldn’t believe it. I Googled it when I got home and found out some developer or other has bought the plot on 79th and 3rd and is planning some high rise or other. Pht, as if we don’t have enough high rises.

Pain Quotidien was a lovely alternative anyway; we ordered big bowls of cafĂ© au lait, a bread basket with all their various spreads, a side of prosciutto and a soft boiled egg each. Who ate all the pies. I had to show Steph how to slice the top off hers with the edge of the spoon. American children don’t have boiled egg and soldiers for a breakfast treat apparently. Who’d have thought it?

As I sat there chit chatting with Steph an absolutely drop dead gorgeous guy walked by. I kid you not I think my jaw dropped he was so cute. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and he must have felt my stare and looked directly at me and smiled. Now let’s just say I wasn’t feeling my most attractive in that particular moment, so I was quite shocked my appreciative looks were being reciprocated and I came over a bit shy and couldn’t bring myself to return his smile. I don’t know about you, but I have to feel confident in myself in these moments and I just didn’t feel my best when I’d literally rolled out of bed, pulled on a pair of jeans I’d dug out of the laundry basket, hadn’t yet showered or washed my hair so it was flat and disgusting and was make-up free and wearing my glasses. I was mortified when he turned and walked up the ramp and inside Pain Quotidien with a guy I hadn’t realised was with him. Steph said he looked over at me twice, but I couldn’t bring myself to meet his gaze. I realised later that I was being an idiot, I should have snapped up a guy that seemingly found me attractive looking like I did. Darn it, extremely hot guy shows interest and I blow it. Oh well, never mind, there’s always the wedding photographer, but more on him later ;-)

After breakfast Steph and I headed back towards my apartment to get a manicure from the place around the corner. I used to go for manicures all the time, but it’s been a while since my last one. I go for pedicures in the summer, but I’ve never been very patient at letting the polish dry fully on my fingernails; I’d only be out of the salon 10minutes and I’d smudge a nail, so I tend to just pop in every once in a while to get them shaped and just have them put a couple of coats of clear polish on – no-one can tell when that smudges - and maintain that as long as I can before going back. The longest I’ve previously maintained a manicure was a whopping 3 hours. I had a lovely French manicure, my nails were looking fabulous, but then I stopped by the laundrette later that afternoon and as I was removing my towels from the dryer I noticed the heat had melted the tips off my French manicure. I realised there and then that manicures and me weren’t a good match, however with Steph to keep me company this time I held my hands under the nail dryer for a full 30minutes and so the polish dried fully. For the first time ever my nails were perfectly manicured and chip free for over 24hours, almost 48hours in fact, even surviving a shower post manicure when I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a big novelty for me and all weekend I was unnaturally fascinated by how great my nails looked - I can highly recommend Essie’s ‘Spaghetti Straps’ polish; it’s a very natural looking shade of pink – and couldn’t stop admiring them. If you were walking in Manhattan over the weekend and noticed a woman staring at her nails in goggle eyed wonderment, well that was probably me.

Melissa arrived at my place at 4pm and the 3 of us took a cab downtown to the church on Mott and Prince, we were worried that we might struggle to find a cab due to the 4pm shift changeover, but we got one straight away and traffic was surprisingly light so we were at the church by 4:25pm. We were among the first to arrive and had our pick of the pews. The church looked stunning, it was full to bursting with flowers since the wedding was just a week after the Easter Sunday service and the priest had asked Ash and E to hold off on planning any more flowers, which was just as well. It would have been overwhelming with any more.

Despite being Catholic by default – Irish grandparents – and attending a Catholic high school, I couldn’t tell you the last time I was inside a church for a mass. It must be more than a decade. Surprisingly I remembered all the appropriate responses to the mass – ‘it is right to give Him thanks and praise’ and all that – and the correct moments to stand, sit or kneel. My knees weren’t so happy about the kneeling. I had to laugh when it came to Communion and a starving Steph nudged me and asked me to “go up there and get me one of those little wafer things”

Eye-roll!! Honestly some people, it’s not a buffet Stephanie :-)

There were quite a few latecomers to the service and Melissa and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows – perhaps uncharitably – at one woman who scurried about 10minutes before the end of the ceremony, after the vows, and carrying a bag from Intermix – a chain of pricey boutiques – which didn’t look as if it contained a wedding gift. I know the church was convenient to SoHo, but shopping???? C’mon. The latecomers also included one incredibly attractive guy who we pegged for an Italian based on his suit. “I’ve found you a date” whispered Steph to me as he sat down. I should probably point out that Steph is married – her husband is in the reserves and is currently off in Iraq – so with her own romantic life all sorted – she met her own husband when he was the best man at our friend Val’s wedding - she was focusing all her energies on finding me a nice guy. She’s a sweetheart. ‘Italian guy’ was cute – we later found out he was American and gay - but by then I’d already spotted Cute Photographer Bloke and pointed him out. She agreed he was easy on the eye.

After the service the three of us plus our friend Niamh and her husband decided to take the subway down to the reception at
Bayards in the Financial District instead of trying to hail a cab with 105 other wedding guests. We took the R train to the Rector St station and passed Tel Aviv’s apartment building as we walked over to Hanover Square. I felt a bit of a pang at that, I’ve missed him on and off since we broke up, but hey what can I do, he wanted someone who could fully commit to moving to Israel and I wasn’t ready for that. Next!!

Hobbling down to Bayard’s in heels is not the best decision we could have made. There are far too many cobblestone streets downtown to make walking it each, however if you’re looking for a place to hold a wedding reception in New York you could do a LOT worse than Bayard’s. I have nothing but good things to say about the place, from the decor, to the food, staff, it was perfect. In fact if I have one complaint it was that the staff were a little too good at making sure our wine glasses were always topped up. I lay the blame for Saturday’s hangover completely at the feet of Bayard’s efficient staff, I eschew all responsibility, my hangover had nothing whatsoever to do with my own lack of discipline ;-)

Our table was right behind the table where the wedding party was seated and as the Bride and Groom were announced and came in to take their seats for dinner Steph nudged me in the ribs to let me know the cute photographer was crouched next to her taking photos. The next thing I overhear is Stephanie say to photographer “my friend thinks you’re really cute, are you single?”

Oh Lord.

Fortunately he just laughed and told her he was working, before she had a chance to start nudging me and introducing us.

The rest of the evening was a lot of fun, the DJ was great and I danced up a storm with the Groom’s father and Ash’s friend Brendan. In fact some of my dancing was a little too energetic given all the wine that was in my stomach and at one point, as Brendan was leading me around the dance floor; he spun me a little too hard and I spun off and bumped into a table. It could have been worse; I could have grabbed hold of the table cloth and pulled a table setting for eight to the floor, but still I felt a smidge embarrassed by my dance floor mishap. I also felt a little queasy from all the spinning and as I went to sit back down at the table I decided it was probably a good time to be making tracks. It was close to 12:30am by then and Steph and Melissa decided to come with me

As we were saying our goodbyes to Ash and E, Steph informed Ash I had a thing for the photographer. “Oh I’ve known him for years” she said “I’ll get right on that when I’m back from my honeymoon.” We’ll see what happens, although to be honest I’m not entirely sure I want to be set up with a guy who was potentially a sober witness to my intoxication and with photographic evidence no less. Shudder!!

I woke up at 8:16am on Saturday morning expecting to see my dress in a heap on the floor and my mascara smudged under my eyes, but remarkably I’d hung my dress up, put my jewellery away and washed my face when I got home. I don't remember doing that at all. I also didn’t feel too bad considering all I’d had to drink, although I did my fair share of wincing over the fact that I spun into a table while dancing with Brendan. However I don’t think I did anything too crazy as I didn’t wake up with any mysterious bruises – or any mysterious Italians for that matter. Darn it ;-) I'm not one for sleeping late, so I got up and made myself a cup of tea. Steph joined me around 9am and we sat on the sofa piecing together the previous evening.

“I pretty much chased that photographer around the whole evening telling him that I thought you and he would make a great couple. He asked me why I thought that as I’d never met him before and all I could say was ‘well you’re cute and she’s cute, you’ll look good together’” said Steph

“You didn’t point me out to him did you?” I asked

“I don’t think so”

“I hope not. I was so drunk, I was not attractive”

“You didn’t seem so bad to me, you weren’t slurring your words or being loud or anything. You seemed fairly sober. You just kept saying you felt sick and wanted to leave“

“That must have been because of all the spinning when I was dancing with Brendan”

“You were both dancing really fast.”

“Hmmm, not the wisest move after all that wine”

“There were other people who were much drunker than we were, like Judy for instance and Susan. Susan left me a voicemail to make sure we got home okay and she sounded really drunk. She’s supposed to be flying to Phoenix this morning for her UCLA game. I wonder if she made it.”

Steph sent me an email later that day to say Susan did make her NCAA game in Phoenix. Apparently she got home after 4am and had 15 minutes to pack before her car picked her up to take her to the airport at 5am. “She didn't sleep except for some on the plane. Wild woman!!! She said she was drunk and shouldn't have gone to the after bar at Ulysses but had a lot of fun!”

I can’t wait to hear the goss ;-)

Unfortunately my tiny handbag wouldn’t fit my camera, so I don’t have many photo’s, I'm waiting for Melissa to post her's to Snapfish or some such, but here’s a couple from Brendan of the bride and groom and a posse of drunken Italian men. The others are exterior shots of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral and of Bayard’s.


Kitty said...

aw, what a fun time?
I can relate to the shyness part when not feeling so confident. I think it's easier to pull off when you're not that attracted to or interested in the other person. (In which case, the skill is completely useless)

Sounds like you're meeting people (fellas) all over the place, potentially!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, it was a LOT of fun. I agree that it's easier to be yourself when you are not attracted to someone. Oh well.

I have more dating news, but I'll save that for another post later in the week ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a real blast. I was thinking about the Irish thing and the stereotype(?) you always hear re: the wake/funeral where everyone always gets drunk. Drinks before the wedding?

I've been to weddings before where you may not drink beforehand but you drink after the ceremony while you are waiting for the reception to begin. Some folks are already half in the bag before the receiving line. I know I sure have been before. And then of course there's all the drinking during the ceremony.

Was there any of that awful hitting of the glass business to make the bride and groom kiss? Ugh.

For my cousin's wedding, they decided that if you wanted them to do that, you had to get up and tell some sort of joke or witty anecdote or something regarding one or both of them. had to sing a song for them.

Guess what PA did! Oh, MORE than half in the bag.

She followed the lead of this other guy as the DJ was still sort of hidden as the dancing hadn't started and space needed to be cleared etc...

So she ran away where no one could see her and started to sing into his microphone (I won't reveal what song it was as it's a little cheesy!) Now, most people were doing the joke thing--not singing. Also, PA used to sing when she was younger and in uni. This was years later but still.

I walked out to shocked faces and applause *laughing* Members of my (ridiculous) family were..."Was that you? OMG...we can't believe that was you singing...your voice!" Yes...they stink.

Weddings can be nuts. You made me laugh too about pulling the table cloth off. Maybe you should work on that as a "magician's trick" for the next wedding coming up? Just in case?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi PA, no glass hitting. I've never heard of that before. Funny about you singing. Thankfully there are no more weddings pending where I might cause myself further embarrassment ;-)

Spandrel Studios said...

Your account of the wedding was just a *riot* to read! You've really got a way of painting the full picture.

Hope you and the photographer are able to at least meet up for coffee or something... you never know. You've at least got the makings of a "meet cute" story!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Spandrel, that's such a nice compliment. We'll see what happens with the photographer, probably nothing, but it's fun to enjoy the potential ;-)

Blur Ting said...

Oh, you didn't post any photos of your gorgeous self!

You're such a great storyteller, it realy sounded like an enjoyable evening. I wish I was invited!

And it seems that you've lots of cute guys over there too ;-)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Blur Ting, you're so sweet, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Truth be told I don't have any photos of myself at the wedding yet as I didn't have room for a camera in my tiny handbag and I am still waiting on my friends to share their photos, although I quite enjoy my anonymity so I'm not sure I would post photos of myself on my blog ;-)

Flowers said...

bloody hell, i feel knackered after reading about that. i know that when you're caught up in the moment energy is not an issue but reading it...well. you did well.

i even had a sympathetic stomach twinge for you. wine and dancing. you can almost imagine it burning through you.

wedding receptions are great. i'd give the actual ceremony a miss if i had the choice though. they're quite long aren't they? perhaps i'm being a little unromantic.

can't believe you didn't feel too bad the next day. i would have been dribbling down my front after something like that (sorry for the gross image there).


fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Flowers, I surprised myself with my lack of a hangover, although I did have a fairly early night the next day ;-)

Quinn said...

Are soliders long pieces of dry toast? Because my parents used to give me those as a treat when I was young.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Q, not quite, British soldiers are short fat pieces of buttered toast to dip into the yolk of your soft boiled egg.

Amel said...

Ahhhhhh...I can't believe Steph actually said those words to the photographer he he he...

And no, I didn't know that the Irish go drinking before a wedding. Not such a wise habit he he he...

Well, hope you'll have a FUN-filled weekend, Fish! ;-D

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, I couldn't quite believe Steph said that to the photographer either. She's a hoot that one ;-)

I have a relaxing weekend planned, hope you have a good one too Amel, F x

Rikki said...

Thanks for the fun stories. That is too funny about the cute guys and the drunkenness, sounds like my sister's wedding. Also Irish, just a coincidence? Where did they have the wedding? Could you find the place on ? I've been looking for the perfect spot.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Rikki,

Thanks for stopping by. The wedding was at Bayards in Hanover Square downtown. I recommend it, they really did a good job looking after the guests. Good luck finding your venue :-)

Rikki said...